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What is a Discectomy?


Discectomy surgery is a procedure to remove a portion of a herniated disc in the spine that is pressing on nearby nerves and causing pain, numbness or weakness in the arms or legs. In most cases, a discectomy can be performed using a minimally invasive technique through a tiny incision with a quicker recovery than with traditional open surgery.

Our board-certified specialists use cutting-edge technology to help patients find the relief that they need from debilitating back pain. If you’re still experiencing pain after trying non-surgical back pain treatments, give us a call at [sc name=”patient_phone_number_dash”] and let Back Pain Centers of America help you join the thousands of others who are living pain-free thanks to our minimally invasive procedures.

Get back to the gym with help from endoscopic discectomy procedure


The benefits of a minimally invasive discectomy include:

  • Quick recovery time
  • Tiny incision, usually less than 1 inch
  • Minimal bleeding and scarring
  • Low risk of infection

Patients whose herniated disc pain was not relieved by conservative treatments may benefit from relief of pain and other symptoms that interfere with their daily activities.

Conditions and Symptoms Treated

Discectomy surgery is performed to relieve pressure on a spinal nerve from a herniated or bulging disc. Other conditions that can be treated with discectomy surgery are:

It is recommended when other treatments have failed to provide relief of symptoms after several weeks or when:

  • You are experiencing weakness that interferes with standing and walking
  • The pain radiating to your arms or legs is severe
  • A fragment of spinal disc is lodged in your spinal canal and pressing on a nerve

Preparing for a Discectomy

You will be given specific preparation instructions before your discectomy procedure. As part of your preparation, you will be asked to:

  • Stop taking certain medications and supplements – Some medications and supplements raise the risk of bleeding and will need to be stopped for a period before surgery. You will be advised as to which of these will need to be stopped and for how long.
  • Stop smoking – Smoking and chewing tobacco can slow healing. You will be asked to refrain from using tobacco products for a period before and after your discectomy surgery.
  • Fast for 6 to 12 hours – You will be advised of the exact amount of time you need to fast before your surgery.
  • Arrange a ride home – You will not be able to drive following surgery and should arrange for someone to drop you off and pick you up.

It is important to follow the preparation instructions given as failure to do so will result in the postponement of your procedure.

What to Expect During the Procedure

Minimally invasive discectomy surgery is usually performed under general anesthesia through a tiny incision that measures approximately 1 inch. Since the muscles in the spine run vertically, the surgeon is able to perform the discectomy with minimal risk of cutting the muscles or other soft tissue, resulting in less pain and a faster recovery. A surgical microscope allows the surgeon to visualize the damaged disc and tiny instruments are inserted into the incision to remove the disc material that is pressing on the nerve. Once completed, the incision is closed, and you will be sent to a recovery room where you will be monitored until you wake up.

Discectomy Recovery Times

Discectomy recovery time can range from 2 to 8 weeks depending on your overall health and condition. You will be advised as to when you can return to your regular activities. Depending on your job, you may be able to return to work as soon as 2 weeks after your surgery. Pain following surgery can often be managed using over-the-counter pain medications. You may be prescribed physical therapy to help with your discectomy recovery. If you’re not getting the relief you need from back pain treatment without surgery, let us help you get back to the activities that you enjoy. Call us at [sc name=”patient_phone_number_dash”] today and join the thousands of others we’ve already helped.

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© 2019 Back Pain Centers of America. Back Pain Centers of America does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Information on this website is not designed to replace a doctor's judgment or course of treatment. All physicians and practices operate independent of and are in no way owned or controlled by Back Pain Centers of America. Results and recovery times may vary. User Agreement and Privacy Policy.

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